Friday, June 27, 2008

Grounded (aka "Excessive" Punishment)

Recently, a Quebec judge overruled a father's authority by saying his daughter was "excessively punished" when she was grounded. The details are in this article [National Post] and this article [Albert Mohler's Blog]. I'm not going to reiterate what they've said, but I want to look at one particular angle.

She's 12. She's in 6th grade. (I don't even remember most of 6th grade, and it was only 5 years ago!). What astonishes me most in this case is that she had the gull, at the age of 12, to fight this. At 17, I wouldn't take my parents to court because I couldn't go to prom. It's absurd. What makes it worse is it wasn't just a father's opinion, where he didn't think she should go in general. It was a punishment. So what happens the next time her father tries to punish her? Even if she doesn't take it to court again, she could threaten to. Now he'll second guess every decision he makes- talk about tough parenting.

In a way, it reminds me of one of my favorite books, My Sister's Keeper. In it, the parents of a girl who has cancer have another daughter who is compatible genetically with the first. Though they love both their daughters, the fact that they had the second with the intention of using her as a donor makes them inclined to abuse their right. She takes them to court for medical emancipation, because they want her to donate a kidney. Even then, they can still prevent her from going on camping trips; they just can't control her medical decisions. Taking away a parents right to be a parent leaves them with nothing.

Any 12 year old who takes her father to court for doing his job deserves to be grounded, but maybe that's a little exsessive.

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